As early as now, with the eventual departure of Ateneo de Manila University skipper Danica Jose at the end of the season, the Lady Eagles are gradually shifting their focus from the center to building their team around Hazelle Yam in the years to come.
“That was the plan when we first brought her. It was a new program and I was a rookie coach; she came in as a rookie and we were looking to build the team around her,” head coach Erika Dy said.
“We were really looking for Hazelle to step up at the beginning of the season. She played well for us in the offseason and her rookie performance last year was above par.”
The sophomore guard Yam did not even start in her first game of the UAAP Season 78 women’s basketball tournament, but has been on a tear lately as she is showcasing the fruits of a busy offseason.
“For a rookie, she did very well so we were expecting her to step up. Although she was not there the first few games, now she is playing pretty well and the whole team is rallying behind her,” Dy quipped of the team’s second leading scorer behind Jose.
Yam displayed her best game of the season yet, scoring 16 points on 8-for-13 shooting to go with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals during Ateneo’s 48-46 win over Far Eastern University.
“I think she was just getting rid of jitters in the past few games. You play a good rookie year and everyone expects a lot from you. I think the pressure sank into her but eventually she let go of that and she is playing pretty well for us now,” Dy quipped of her backcourt general.
Yam is the ideal build-around piece for the Lady Eagles after the season’s end. The former women’s under-16 national team member has good size and agility for a combo guard, and attacks the basket aggressively to set up her teammates.
That shot-making ability will be a huge asset for her in the years to come, and Dy spoke highly of that weapon.
“She has a quick first step and aside from her points, she creates opportunities for her teammates. She draws the defense very well and she can kick that ball out for her open teammates,” Dy shared.
Yam’s performance has been very impactful for the Lady Eagles in their past four outings which they split (2-2). She showed Ateneo can get production outside of their usual go-to players and at this rate, Yam should be bracing for an even bigger role in the future.
Rival coaches agree: Ramil de Jesus should coach National Team
Tyrus Hill, Kurt Lojera transfer to La Salle
Lady Eagles survive Golden Tigresses to clinch Final Four spot
Ateneo taking costly UP loss in stride
With Super Series, ONE Championship becomes caretaker of martial arts
Joshua Laud’s late goal not enough, as Fighting Maroons earn top seed
Zark’s-Lyceum runs roughshod on Marinerong Pilipino, becomes lowest seed ever to reach Finals
Michael Calisaan makes surprising yet timely return to Che’lu-San Sebastian
Tiger Spikers squeeze into Final Four, outlast Soaring Falcons
Bryan Bagunas, Bulldogs end four-year curse against Blue Eagles
Tamaraws stamp twice-to-beat ticket, eliminate Green Spikers
Lady Falcons outmuscle Golden Tigresses in Season 80 finale
- DLSU4 days ago
La Salle seniors relishing last stretch of UAAP career
- ADMU1 day ago
Wendel Comboy, FEU rally from 17 down to stun Ateneo; Jun Manzo, UP hold off Letran
- ADMU4 days ago
Ateneo official says it was players decision not to attend National Team tryout
- ADMU4 days ago
Oliver Almadro deals with trespasser before big NU game